Monday, January 30, 2017

The Accuser

Have you ever second guessed yourself?  Felt the anxiety of wondering if you were misunderstood?  Been gripped by panic that what seemed fine at the time was actually gossiping, boasting or being hurtful?  Waffled over whether you should say anything at all?

During our most recent Sunday night class we talked about boasting.  I love these classes where our whole congregation is invited to study and bring their thoughts.  At first it seemed that everyone confidently understood how to identify bragging.  It makes us want to roll our eyes; it's a heart problem.  It's exaggerated.  It's a kind of one-up-manship. I began to think I was the only one who dithered about sharing good news in case that was boasting. In the past I have been misunderstood or I've struggled with boasting or both (See how I anxiously dither?) and sometimes now I just don't share at all.

As soon as class was over, a dear friend caught me to say she was sorry if her Christmas letter seemed boastful.  (I found it a delightful expression of her joy in children and  grandchildren).  Another caught me at the door asked me a question and then apologized for seeming nosy.  

Nope.  I'm not the only one who worries about these things.

I've been thinking about it a lot lately.  Not boasting but this dithering worry.  And I'm coming to the conclusion that it's from Satan.

Now don't hear me wrong.  Self-examination is good.  We should look deeply into the Word, be convicted of our sin and change.  But that is not the same thing as being paralyzed by the fear of doing wrong/seeming wrong.  It is not the same thing as listening to the lies of the Accuser.

And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,
“Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night
(Revelation 12:9-10)

"Accuser" is not the name for Satan that we are most familiar with.  "Devil", "Satan" and "Deceiver", even "The Father of Lies", are more common.  But this idea that Satan is the one who stands opposed to us and without mercy throws our every mistake in God's face and demands that He punish us is as ancient as the book of Job.  In fact, the very word, "Satan" means accuser in Hebrew. 

So when we are joyless, when we worry, dither, and fret, when we are self-focused and hyper-concerned with the way others view us, when we feel accused at every turn, it is the voice of Satan we are listening to.

Becoming the people God means for us to be certainly involves putting away sin.  But just as importantly it requires a growth in positive virtue.  We are supposed to be renewed and transformed.  Transformed into people who are full of love, kindness, joy, and peace.  And I can think of nothing less full of these positive Spirit-filled virtues than the paniced dithering we've been talking about. Or as John puts it...

By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. (1 John 4:17-18)


  1. This is really good wisdom. Thank you so much for sharing. I struggle with the very inward conversation you speak of, and so often let satan accuse me. Happy Monday! Megs

  2. Also good thoughts to remember when you think you need to accuse someone of something-just whose place are you taking?! :-)

  3. Yes Ma'am! For me this is one of the great lessons from the story of the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees standing there are in Satan's place. Jesus stands in his own place as our defender and redeemer. Where does that leave us? On the ground, accused of sin. I don't ever want to the be the Pharisee.

  4. Great perspective, Helene. I hadn't thought much about this, but you are right--our introspection (which is good) can go too far where we begin to worry and accuse ourselves of things that aren't there. This is helpful for me to think about because I tend to do a lot of self-examination and I want to do it from God's perspective, not the enemy's.